Ronaldinho and Riquelme offer to play for Chapoeconese for free
Former Brazil superstar Ronaldinho and Argentina legend Juan Roman Riquelme have offered to come out of retirement to play for Chapecoense FC for free‚ according to unconfirmed international media reports.
Players and officials of Brazilian first division team Chapecoense were among 71 passengers killed in a plane crash on Monday night near Medellin Colombia.
The team had been travelling to play against Atletico Nacional in the maiden final of the new Copa Sudamericana‚ South America’s version of the Eufa Europa League.
There were six survivors.
Former Barcelona stars Ronaldinho (36)‚ the Fifa World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005‚ and Riquelme (38) have offered to come out of retirement to play for Chapoeconese for free‚ reports said.
The football news website 90min.com reported: “This unfortunate event has brought back memories of the Munich Air Disaster and the accident that took place with the Torino team.
“But when the family is affected‚ family members come to the rescue. Brazilian legend Ronaldinho has offered to play for free for Chapecoense for free for a season in an amazing gesture.
“Argentinian legend and former Barcelona star Juan Roman Riquelme has extended the same courtesy.”
The official Twitter page of the English Premier League tweeted: “BREAKING: Ronaldinho to make sensational comeback for Chapecoense. Incredible gesture from him!”
Italian football website Calciomercato.com quote Riquleme as saying: “My brother and my friends have asked me to do it so let’s see what happens.”
Chapoeconese technical staff and 19 of their players were reportedly killed in the tragedy.